'COVID is kicking humanity's ass': Texas ER doctor offers brutally honest assessment of the pandemic

'COVID is kicking humanity's ass': Texas ER doctor offers brutally honest assessment of the pandemic
The doctor Annalisa Silvestri during COVID-19 pandemic 2020 in Italy // Alberto Giuliani, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An emergency room doctor in Texas recently shared a glimpse of the brutal reality he and other frontline workers have faced "for the past three weeks" as they continue battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to CBS News, Dr. Hasan Kakli, a doctor in the emergency department at the El Campo Memorial Hospital in Rosenburg, Texas, detailed the challenges of attending to COVID patients in need of specialized treatment at the medical facility where he works, noting a lack of proper resources.

Offering an example of the strained situations they face, Kakli spoke of a 50-year-old patient only identified as Araceli who arrived at the hospital unresponsive. Although he is in critical need of an intensive care unit (ICU) bed and a cancer evaluation, neither resources are available at El Campo. Araceli would need to be transferred to another facility an hour away in Houston, Texas but unfortunately, that option is also currently off the table as the metropolitan city's hospital systems are also inundated with COVID-related hospitalizations.

"So at this point, it's kind of like we need help. If she didn't have the malignancy and we had an open ICU bed, we would take care of her here," he added.

He also noted that emergency room wait times are extended due to the pandemic. "You would never see four digits on minutes since checked in. We're 4 digits, thousands of minutes, we've never seen this, ever, ever," Kakli said.

While Kakli admitted that he has managed to find resources to treat Araceli, he is still facing challenges due to the hospital's lack of resources and the time needed for accommodating patients who require specialized treatment. The El Campo emergency room also remains hectic due to the overflow of COVID patients.

"It shouldn't take five days and four phone calls to make this happen," he said. "It's sad that we're all relieved and happy that we got a patient out after four days; that's where the bar is right now, like we got them out eventually, and kudos to the entire staff here, the other ER docs who have been keeping the patients alive for as long as we have if we get through this, the team that we have here, our bond is going to be that much stronger if we get through this," he added.

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